Category Archives: Hygiene Promotion

Can a toolkit make a difference to WASH and NTDs collaboration?

Yael Velleman, WASH Working Group Co-Chair, Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network, Director of Policy and Communications, SCI Foundation

Leah Wohlgemuth, WASH Working Group Co-Chair, Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network, Technical Adviser, Sightsavers

One year on from the launch of the first-ever practical guide on WASH and NTDs collaboration, the co-chairs of the NNN WASH Working Group reflect on its impact

A year ago today, Dr. Mwele Malecela, WHO Director for the Department of Control of NTDs, unveiled the first-ever step-by-step guide for building NTD and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) partnerships to a crowded auditorium at the London Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Research.

WASH and health working together: A ‘how-to’ guide for Neglected Tropical Disease programmes” is the culmination of more than two years of collaboration between the World Health Organization and the NTD NGO Network (NNN), incorporating real-life program perspectives and tools to improve coordination between the NTD and WASH communities. On this inaugural World NTD Day, the toolkit is celebrating its one-year anniversary and the significant headway made since its launch.

2019 saw a burst of activities to disseminate the toolkit far and wide; it was translated into French and Spanish, transformed into an interactive online version, and featured in two webinars for the NTD and WASH communities. Blogs by WaterAid and the NNN highlighted the mutual benefits of the toolkit to the WASH and NTDs communities, and the toolkit was highlighted in a USAID Water Currents issue on the importance of WASH and NTD integration.

Interviews with The Carter Center’s Kelly Callahan, Director of the Trachoma Control Program, and Dr. Wondu Alemayehu, Technical Advisor at The Fred Hollows Foundation, demonstrated the value of the resource in the eyes of those who have worked towards NTD control and elimination for many years.

The toolkit also made a splash at a number of WASH and global health convenings, with workshops delivered at Stockholm’s World Water Week, UNC’s Water and Health Conference, and the 10th Annual NNN Conference.

More importantly, however, the approach set out in the toolkit was implemented in a number of countries. Inspired by this resource, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, which was also a major contributor to the toolkit’s content, developed a national framework to guide all government and non-government stakeholders on resourcing, planning and monitoring joint interventions, along with a woreda-level WASH and NTDs coordination toolkit.

Various tools including the situation analysis protocol and planning workshop were also utilized in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

More recently, the Government of Uganda formally adopted the toolkit as a whole and has begun a process of coordination, and adaptation of the toolkit to the national and local context.

The toolkit has also informed the design of WASH activities with the UK Aid funded Ascend programme in West and Central Africa, including coordination structures and joint planning processes.

As we look ahead to 2020—with the anticipated launch of the 2030 Global NTD Roadmap and complementary Global Strategy on WASH and NTDs, as well as renewed commitments to be made in Kigali this summer—nothing is clearer: cross-sector collaboration is essential to sustainably beating NTDs.

This World NTD Day, we’ll celebrate the progress made in 2019 following the launch of “WASH and health working together”, but know that as a global community, we still have much to do to build successful partnerships.

This will mean taking collaboration to the next level, by convening and supporting capacity building initiatives at the regional and national level, by supporting the development of country and local tools, and by documenting the use of the tools to ensure that the toolkit is continuously enhanced to achieve the ultimate aim: end the scourge of NTDs by 2030.

Surveillance of water, sanitation and hygiene in schools: A practical tool – WHO; UNICEF

Surveillance of water, sanitation and hygiene in schools: A practical tool. WHO; UNICEF, 2019. eehh

Adequate access to water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) in schools is every child’s right, as recognized in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Protocol on Water and Health and the Ostrava Declaration on Environment and Health.

Access to WASH in schools in the pan-European region presents many and diverse challenges. A key step to improve the situation, bringing better educational and health outcomes, is high-quality surveillance to raise awareness and drive progress.

This publication provides a practical tool to support countries in strengthening surveillance of WASH in schools. The findings will inform the development of supportive regulations and improvement planning to safeguard children’s health, well-being, dignity and cognitive performance.

The tool also enables countries to use the data collected to facilitate policy dialogue and inform international reporting, including on progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal targets related to WASH in schools.

150,000 Refugee women and girls to receive transformative menstrual health management solution

The UN refugee Agency UNHCR and AFRIpads have just begun the largest rollout of reusable sanitary pad distribution and Menstrual Health Management (MHM) sensitization of refugees in Uganda. The project aims at benefiting some 150,000 women and girls in south-western Uganda. With this, UNHCR Uganda is putting critical spotlight on the challenges refugee women and girls face during their periods. In addition to providing the AFRIpads kit to refugee women and girls, they have been providing MHM capacity building since late September to equip hundreds of NGO field staff with the appropriate knowledge and tools dedicated to breaking taboo and stigma around the topic of menstruation.

The project is in response to a 2018 UNHCR and AFRIpads pilot study in South West Uganda, which found that:

  • The number of girls that reported missing school during their period was cut in half when using AFRIpads reusable pads
  • 84% of refugee schools girls indicating they would prefer to use AFRIpads over disposable pads

Read the full press release and the announcement (with photos) on the AFRIpads website.

Incontinence and WASH Focusing on people in humanitarian and low- and middle-income contexts

Incontinence and WASH: Focusing on people in humanitarian and low- and middle-income contexts

Incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine and/or faeces

People of any gender, age or ability can experience incontinence: they cannot hold on to their urine and/or faeces (‘the involuntary loss of urine or faeces’), and need to manage their urine and/or faeces leaking out. Leakage can occur at any time, day or night (commonly referred to in children as ‘bedwetting’). Incontinence has a significant impact on the quality of life of life of those who experience it, and that of their family members and carers: incontinence

The children (in Zaatari refugee camp, Jordon) are really suffering. The problem is that the mothers have been trying to cope for so long that basically they’ve given up. Night after night of urine and they can’t keep them clean. It’s soul-destroying (Venema, 2015)

Members of an informal email group on incontinence in humanitarian and development settings* have identified a lack of acknowledgement and support for people with incontinence. In response the group has been developing tools and collating resources to enable development and humanitarian professionals to create a supportive environment for people in low- and middle-income countries to manage their incontinence hygienically, safely, in privacy and with dignity.

We have identified that anyone who experiences incontinence has increased water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) needs compared to the rest of the population. WASH-related tools and resources have been collated on this webpage to help improve the knowledge and practices of the WASH sector

Read the complete article.

Wash’Em – How to design handwashing facilities that change behaviour

How to design handwashing facilities that change behaviour. WASH’Em, August 2019.

In a crisis, humanitarians are often responsible for providing or repairing handwashing infrastructure for the affected population. This creates an opportunity for us to build infrastructure and provide products which encourage people to practice handwashing with soap. washem-logo

Why are handwashing facilities important?
Did you know that having a handwashing facility makes you 50% more likely to wash your hands? If it is conveniently placed near the toilet or kitchen and has soap and water available, then people are up to 80% more likely to practice handwashing.

There are several reasons why handwashing facilities can have an important effect on behaviour. Imagine you are leaving the toilet. If you see a handwashing facility, this is likely to act as a trigger, reminding you to wash your hands. If you don’t see a handwashing facility you might get distracted with other things and forget to wash hands.

Even if you did want to wash your hands where there was no handwashing facility present, you would probably have to go to a lot more effort to walk to somewhere that has soap and water. In the process you may touch and contaminate lots of other
surfaces.

Often the level of effort required would act as a barrier to regular handwashing.
As humanitarians it is unethical and a waste of resources to do hygiene promotion if handwashing facilities, soap and water are not readily available to the population. In the acute phase of a crisis, handwashing infrastructure and products must be our first priority.

Young social entrepreneurs making waves with water-saving manual washing machine in IDP camps in Iraq

Young social entrepreneurs making waves with water-saving manual washing machine in IDP camps in IraqThe Washing Machine Project

In March 2019, Navjot Sawhney and Alex Hughes, both engineers and co-founders of the fledgling social enterprise The Washing Machine Project conducted research into clothes-washing habits across four IDP camps in Northern Iraq. Only 40% of IDPs living in the camps had access to an electric washing machine, meaning the majority of families still wash their clothes by hand. SONY DSC

In fact, of the 79 Yazidi families interviewed during their research in Chameskyu, Esyan, Shekhan, and Kanke camps, Sawhney and Hughes found that each family typically spends more than 12 hours a week hand washing clothes.

Many women also reported using chlorine or other chemical detergents to kill water-based bacteria with the aim of keeping their children safe, but suffered from skin irritation on their hands and arms as a result.

Continue reading

Water Currents: Handwashing Research, January – June 2019

Water Currents: Handwashing Research, January – June 2019

The January to June 2019 Handwashing Research Index is the result of a collaboration between the Global Handwashing Partnership and the USAID Water Communications and Knowledge Management Project. hw

The index includes 36 peer-reviewed studies from 2019 that explore handwashing in connection with diverse programmatic areas. It also includes several studies from 2018 that were not included in the 2018 Index due to publication timelines.

This issue of Water Currents features selected studies from the index, as well as links to handwashing-related websites.


Overviews
Progress on Household Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene 2000–2017: Special Focus on InequalitiesWHOUNICEF, June 2019. In 2017, 22 percent of the global population (1.6 billion people) had handwashing facilities that lacked water or soap, and 18 percent (1.4 billion people) had no handwashing facility at all.

Handwashing with Soap after Potential Faecal Contact: Global, Regional and Country Estimates for Handwashing with Soap after Potential Faecal ContactInternational Journal of Epidemiology, December 2018. Researchers found that many people lack a designated handwashing facility, but even among those with access, handwashing with soap is poorly practiced. People with access to designated handwashing facilities are about twice as likely to wash their hands with soap after potential fecal contact as people who lack a facility.

Community Settings
Child Defecation and Feces Disposal Practices and Determinants among Households after a Combined Household-Level Piped Water and Sanitation Intervention in Rural Odisha, IndiaAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, April 2019. A study in rural India found that disposal of child feces into a latrine was uncommon, even among households with access to an improved pour-flush latrine that was used by adults in the household.

Read the complete article.